Divorce – We are left feeling depressed, angry, rejected, hurt. I know. I have said it before and will say it again: I was divorced. Eleven years ago. I know the pain, the anger, the rejection, the blame.
Books and newspapers are filled with stories of divorce, how bad it is for the children, the family, society and the world. By the time my divorce was finalized, I had transferred all of those thoughts expressed in books and articles (which I seemed irresistably drawn to read, maybe because I was looking for a shred of hope) into “MY MARRIAGE HAS FAILED; THEREFORE, I AM A FAILURE.
The thing is, it is a very easy step to take: I am a failure. And with that, came more depression, anger, and blame – mostly I blamed myself. As you can imagine, I was left with little freedom and power (read that as NONE) and no possibility available to me through this thinking.
I discovered that the very first step to freedom and power after divorce lay in taking the conversation out of my head that was all about blame and fault.
We live in a world focused on blame and fault. For the self-proclaimed victims: “It’s NOT my fault”. “It’s YOUR fault”. For the perfectionists out there: “It’s MY fault. I am to blame for this failure.”
Freedom and power cannot exist in the face of fault and blame. A year or so after my divorce, I met someone who was so despondent, so angry and completely possessed with blaming his ex-wife for his divorce. He had joined a father’s group that pushed for father’s rights after divorce. While the group had an important mission, he used his involvement to fuel his anger and blame, which left him closed off to new possibilities in his life. I asked him how long he had been divorced, and was flabbergasted to learn that the divorce took place 18 years ago and his son is 22. He had been caught up in blame and fault for 18 years! With no freedom or power in sight.
We can rid ourselves of this conversation inside us. To be sure, we will never get rid of the voice that insists on popping up all the time, saying: FAULT, BLAME, FAULT, BLAME, FAULT, BLAME. But, we can recognize that IT is just a voice in our head; IT has no power over us. Just because a thought occurs in my mind, does not mean I have to dwell on it, or give it my time and energy. IT came into my mind and can just as easily be discarded.
“Your mind can only hold one thought at a time. Make it a positive and constructive one.”
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
We make lots of choices in life. We choose what thoughts we will give the power to. Unfortunately, we often let the thoughts of blame and fault overtake us and control our path in lilfe.
So, my thought for today is that we have freedom and power in our lives, in our work, in our relationships. Divorce does not change that. We can transform divorce by not giving it power over us. And through the freedom and power we gain for ourselves, we open ourselves to new possibilities after divorce – possibilities for self awareness, growth, strong relationships, and happy families.